Kidnapped | Study Guide

Robert Louis Stevenson

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Kidnapped | Chapter 29 : I Come into My Kingdom | Summary



Alan Breck knocks upon the door of the House of Shaws, which Ebenezer Balfour finally answers with a gun in his hand. Playing his part in David's plot, Alan tells Ebenezer that he has a message from his highland friends from the Isle of Mull, who have imprisoned Ebenezer's nephew, David, in the hopes of obtaining a ransom for his return. Ebenezer refuses to pay, and Alan switches tactics, offering to get rid of David for Ebenezer, either by murder or by keeping him imprisoned. Ebenezer is offended that he should be considered willing to murder David, but he indicates that Alan's friends should keep him imprisoned. As they agree on the price for his imprisonment, Alan lets it be known that he has been in contact with Captain Hoseason and asks what Mr. Ebenezer had paid him for kidnapping David. Ebenezer admits that he had paid the captain 20 pounds, and the captain also expected the profit from selling David as a slave in the Carolinas. At those words, Mr. Rankeillor and the others reveal themselves, and Ebenezer realizes he has been caught. Mr. Rankeillor arranges with Ebenezer to pay David two-thirds of the yearly income from tenants who live on the land of the Shaws.


Ebenezer Balfour draws a very specific moral line when it comes to the treatment of his nephew David.Ebenezer will not directly order David's murder. He has already tried to get David to fall to his death in the castle and paid for Captain Hoseason to kidnap David, but he will not be a party to any "bloodshed." Indeed, Ebenezer says, "I never had naething to do with onything morally wrong." Ebenezer holds a strange idea of what is morally acceptable, especially as he is then negotiating a price for the highlander to imprison his nephew for the sole purpose of keeping him from taking control of the lands and income Ebenezer possesses.

One last time, Alan helps David in a way that only he is able. Alan's highland accent makes him especially convincing in the part of a highland brigand who would negotiate in such dealings. David relies on him this last time and, for once, thanks him "as the chief spring of my success." He does so only because he sees Alan sulking in the corner, after Mr. Rankeillor reminded him that he does not know his name. For Alan Breck, who is proud of the fact that his name carries his reputation far and wide, this was "just the stab that Alan would feel keenest." For his own safety and the security of his friend David, however, Alan does not refute Mr. Rankeillor's comments about his name.

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